Just a few months back, we witnessed the launch of Malaysia’s new wireless broadband service, powered by the multinational conglomerate YTL Corp’s subsidiary YTL Communications. Labelled YES 4G, the WIMAX-based broadband service promises to bring Internet connectivity to the masses. Yes, Internet for everyone.
Some of us had the privilege to taste and test the service pre-launch, and also a chance to pre-register our YesIDs and 018 voice numbers about a week before the actual launch. So launch it did, and with much fanfare too, as expected from a corporate entity as massive as YTL Corp. Together with the hype of the launch both offline and online also came a plethora of issues and controversy – some tiny, nagging annoyances up to huge hiccups that plagued users and web visitors alike.
Is it really 4G? Or really 3G+1?
Beyond the marketing hype, there has been debate over the usage of the term ‘4G’. The then questioned ITU specifications was that data throughput rates must be at least 100Mbps download. As you know there are two rivaling ‘4G’ technologies – WIMAX2, and LTE 2. YES 4G claims its network speeds are 3-5 times faster than 3G, which puts it in the range of 35Mbps, if we were to presume that the max throughput of 3G (HSDPA) is 7.2Mbps. YTL Comms CEO Wing Lee went on record to say that YES 4G cannot be expected to be dictated by unconfirmed international specifications and that “4G is what it is”. The future of high speed wireless Internet is here.
The Bad and the Ugly
Activation problems, security issues, denial of service attacks. These were just a few of many issues that plagued YES 4G post-launch. Naysayers and skeptics had a field day while frustrated customers (yours truly included) attempted to activate accounts online. The YES 4G site was reportedly getting 300,000 hits per second from DDoS attacks that brought the site down to its knees.
Like many others, I gave up after 36-48 hours of trying to load the homepage as the site continued to suffer performance issues. YES 4G’s customer relationship team on Twitter was certainly challenged with round-the-clock bombardment of complaints. Adding salt to the wound was security issues and system problems, including emails containing plaintext user passwords.
While I observed the myriad conversations online (and occasionally participated in posting feedback/comments) I generally refused to be overly judgmental and critical, preferring to let the hype die down and for YES 4G to find its footing. The YES 4G site only properly went back up over a week after the launch.